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Great Expectations


The Author
Chapters 1-6
Chapters 7-12
Chapters 13-17
Chapters 18-19
Chapters 20-24
Chapters 25-28
Chapters 29-39
Chapters 40-45
Chapters 46-51
Chapters 52-59



Power and Money

(Chapters 29 to 39)


Pip is becoming delusional and he thinks that Miss Havisham will have him marry Estella and adopt him. Orlick is now working as Miss Havisham’s guard and this unnerves Pip, especially when he points out the loaded gun over the chimney.

Estella is becoming more and more beautiful and Pip is slowly being lost under the spell she weaves.  She warns him not to love her and stresses that she is sincere in this request.   Miss Havisham relishes the situation anticipating her final act of revenge. She tells Pip before he leaves that Estella will be coming to London and he will be notified so that he can be her escort. 

Jaggers is also visiting and they breakfast together at the local inn. Pip expresses his concern about Orlick’s present at Satis House and Jaggers arranges for him to be fired.  On his way to the coach, Pip encounters the tailor’s assistant who mocks Pip.  When he returns to London he writes an angry letter to Trabb, the tailor, for employing such a poor assistant. 

Pip feels guilty about not visiting Joe and decides to send him a barrel of oysters.   Herbert again tries to talk Pip out of pursuing Estella and although Pip knows that Estella is wrong for him, she spellbinds him. He also tells Pip that he has become engaged to Clara, but they cannot get married because he has no money. He has kept this secret from his mother.

Pip is becoming anxious about his own position.  He does not know how much money he will receive, and he has no training for work if the source of money was to cease. Pip is advised of Estella’s arrival in London and he waits at the coach-house for her.  She will not arrive for another five hours, but then he meets Wemmick who invites Pip to accompany him to Newgate Prison to fill in the time before Estella’s arrival.

Pip realizes that Wemmick brings a touch of humanity when dealing with Jaggers’ clients.  One in particular, called the Colonel is due to be hanged, despite Jaggers’ best efforts and he is unable to give Wemmick a ring in token of the assistance given to him at the trial. All he has is two pigeons, and Wemmick accepts these as another form of portable property.  Pip returns to meet Estella impressed by the way the prison guards hold Wemmick and Jaggers in esteem, but feeling guilty that he is tainted by crime yet again in the presence of his angel Estella.

Estella orders Pip to do this and that, having organized their time together.  She insists on paying for herself wherever they go, wishing not to owe anything to anyone.  She reveals that she had an unhappy childhood as the Havisham parasitical relatives made her life a misery through jealousy. 
Pip and Herbert find their debts escalating and Pip realizes that he is pulling Herbert down to his level and that his dreams are fading.  They have a servant called the Avenger, a young boy who according to Pip does little but eat their food.  On one particular day, the boy offers Pip a roll for his breakfast and he responds by assaulting the servant, lifting him off his feet and shaking him.

Pip receives a note from Trabb the tailor that Mrs. Joe has died and his presence is requested for the interment. After the funeral, Pip notices that Joe is careful at dinner to use his cutlery correctly.  He is delighted when Pip asks if he can stay in his old room, which gives Pip a degree of self-satisfaction. Pip tries to criticize Biddy as to why she had not written to him about what had happened. She stands her ground calling him Mr. Pip and Pip realizes that he is no match for her.  She advises Pip that Orlick has been stalking them.  He is now working at the nearby quarry. Pip resolves to visit Joe more often, but Biddy has her doubts.

Back in London, Jaggers asks Pip to come to his office and gives him '500 as a birthday present from his benefactor. He has now come of age.  He is to take responsibility for his own financial affairs and will receive '125 per quarter until his benefactor makes himself known.  Jaggers announces that his connection with this matter is now over, but he comes to Pip’s apartment to celebrate his birthday. Jaggers advises Pip to spend his money wisely.

Pip then has the idea to secretly set Herbert up in business and he goes to see Wemmick for some advice. Wemmick’s lady friend, Miss Skiffins, is there. Wemmick is in favor of Pip’s idea to help Herbert and agrees to contact Miss Skiffins’ brother who is an accountant. The details are arranged quickly and Herbert is unaware of the intrigue. Herbert is to join with a merchant named Clarriker.

Estella continues her warnings to Pip that he must not care for her. They make regular visits to Satis House, which are traumatic for Pip due to Miss Havisham’s lust for revenge and Estella’s indifference to him. On one visit, the two women engage in a vicious argument.  Estella is weary of Miss Havisham’s clinging attitude to her. She accuses Estella of being unloving and Estella points out that she will always be grateful and obedient, but it is impossible for her to love anyone or anything because she has not been taught how to love.  Miss Havisham’s plan has clearly gone awry.

For the first time Pip notices fear in the eyes of Miss Havisham.  Some time later back in London, he learns that Estella is courting Drummle. 
Pip is becoming more and more restless and uncertain about his future and wealth. 
Herbert has now joined with Clarriker and their business is doing well.

One bitterly cold night, a stranger arrives at Pip’s home; Pip is afraid of the stranger, but then recognizes that it is his convict from years ago, Magwitch.  The convict is pleased to see how well Pip has grown and delighted to see that he is such a gentleman.  After a few hints from Magwitch, Pip realizes that he is the mysterious benefactor and it is his way of rewarding Pip for the help given when he was on the run. 

Pip is devastated, realizing that Estella can never be his, that Miss Havisham is not his benefactor and he has betrayed Joe for money from a convict.  He also realizes that as Magwitch is a lifer, if he is caught in England he will be hanged.


Herbert is keeping his engagement to Clara a secret from his mother and the fact that he is at least obtaining some stability in his personal life makes Pip more insecure. He is concerned about losing his money, as this is the key to Estella.  He is obsessed with Estella and nothing Herbert can say will dissuade him from his purpose.   To the reader it is clear that Pip’s feelings for Estella are not love, but some sort of addiction.  There is no question that Estella is a beauty and even Jaggers notices this.  When Estella is around, Pip has no identity of his own.  He has no aims in life other than to please his benefactor Miss Havisham, and love Estella. The result of this is that he has to deny his roots and try and blot Joe out of his life.

Pip’s recent actions reinforce the fact that he is a coward. To satisfy his feelings of guilt, he sends Joe a barrel of oysters. He does not like the fact that Orlick is working at Satis House, so again from a long distance he arranges for him to be fired, Jaggers doing the dirty work.  Again he complains about Trabb’s assistant and deals with this problem by letter. Pip cannot face the people he hurts or come to terms with the actions he has taken.

Estella does show some feelings for Pip by consistently warning him not to love her.  She is at least being honest with him.

The previous theme concerning Wemmick’s portable property comes to light again when he and Pip visit Newgate Prison.  There one of Jaggers’ clients, the Colonel is unable to buy a ring for Wemmick, but gives the clerk two pigeons. Again Pip is concerned at the stigma around him regarding prisons and convicts and he wishes that his guardian had some other occupation.  He feels contaminated in the presence of Estella, which is a symptom of his irrational behavior when she is around.

Pip spends much of his time dreaming of being with Estella, but when he is, he is in turmoil.  Pip shows some alarming behavior when dealing with his servant, the avenger.  The treatment he received from Mrs. Joe, he now dishes out to the servant boy, taking out his frustration on him.  A normal person would have simply fired the servant, but Pip seems to delight in having the boy around in order to dish out abuse to him.

Dickens also gives the reader an insight into the appalling prison conditions at Newgate.  The author continues to add tags to the characters for Pumblechook it is now ‘the founder of Pip’s fortunes’, and for Joe it is his phrase ‘Pip, old chap’.    The recurring symbol of evil is ever in the background in the form of Orlick.  It is evident that there is something sinister is going to happen and Orlick has something to do with it.

The two main symbols in these chapters are power and money.  Pip is seen to exercise the power he now has because of his social position and so far he has wielded this power from a distance, which also includes the secret concerning Herbert’s future in the business world.

Dickens is clear to illustrate that money can be used to good and evil purposes, and our main character is not all bad, in that he has realized that Herbert’s dreams cannot be fulfilled without the use of his money, for he has contributed to Herbert’s indebtedness.

Pip returns home for his sister’s funeral and some of the old rapport he had with Joe is evident. Joe is determined not to embarrass Pip by paying attention to his table manners.  Estella is aware of the use of power.  She does not wish to be in the debt of anyone, in particular Pip, and she always pays her way.  She controls Pip and all around her.

Pip believes he is in control of his own situation to a limited extent, but when his true benefactor is revealed he suddenly becomes powerless.  It is Magwitch who now controls his future and he feels very vulnerable because he has no means of making his own living.  His blind pursuit of Estella and money has meant that he has jeopardized his relationship with Joe. The realization of this devastates Pip.

The monster that Miss Havisham has created to wreak havoc against all mankind has turned round and hurt her, something she never intended to happen.  Estella reveals that she is incapable of loving anyone, including Miss Havisham, who she compliments on her training. Estella shows kindness to Pip by being totally honest with him, that he should not love her, as she is incapable of loving him in return. She is dutiful and grateful to Miss Havisham, but she cannot love her, and Miss Havisham is now afraid of her own creation.  Pip does not realize this yet, but he will not be used the way the other men in Estella’s life will be used.

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